When Madonna first arrived in Malawi, she says she didn't know anything about David's parents. She was soon told that his mother had died of HIV and that his three siblings had also died of HIV. At the time, the Minister of Children and Mothers Welfare told Madonna that even though David's biological father's whereabouts were unknown, they would have to find him to give consent for the adoption.
"Here's what I knew. David had been living in this orphanage since he was two weeks old," Madonna says. "He had survived malaria and tuberculosis, and no one from his extended family had visited him since the time he arrived. So from my perspective, there was no one looking after David's welfare."
Once David's father was located, he initially said he gave his son up for adoption always hoping that someone like Madonna would be able to give him a better life, and agreed to the adoption. Now, according to the press, David's father is saying he did not fully understand what he was doing when he agreed to let Madonna adopt his son.
"I do not believe that is true. I sat in that room, I looked into that man's eyes," Madonna says. "I believe that the press is manipulating this information out of him. I believe at this point in time, he's been terrorized by the media. They have asked him things, repeatedly, and they have put words in his mouth. They have spun a story that is completely false."
With all the speculation, rumors and overall controversy surrounding Madonna's adoption of David, how does Madonna feel about the media?
"I wouldn't say I'm hurt by it, but I would say I'm disappointed," she says. "I understand that gossip and telling negative stories sells newspapers. But I think for me, I'm disappointed because it discourages other people from doing the same thing—for anybody who had the idea that they, too, would like to open their home and give a life to a child living in an orphanage who might possibly not live past the age of 5. Anybody who had that idea would be discouraged from doing it. For me, that's what disappoints me the most. I feel like the media is doing a great disservice to all the orphans of Africa, period, not just Malawi, by turning it into such a negative thing.
"I beg all of those people to go to Africa and see what I saw and walk through those villages. ... To see 8-year-olds in charge of households. To see mothers dying, with Kaposi sarcoma lesions all over their bodies. To see open sewages everywhere. To see what I saw. It is a state of emergency. As far as I'm concerned, the adoption laws have to be changed to suit that state of emergency. I think if everybody went there, they'd want to bring one of those children home with them and give them a better life."
Printed from Oprah.com on
© 2014 OWN, LLC. All Rights Reserved.